Ghost Species

In my photography I explore historical, environmental, and personal connections to the land. Typically, I build tabletop dioramas out of everyday materials such as paper, soap, and wool. Once constructed, I use lighting to dramatically transform my creations for the camera in an attempt to capture the experience of the terrain rather than the documentation of it. The resulting images are an amalgamation of familiar places, unexplored wilderness, and pure fiction. 

In my latest research I explore facets of global climate change and its impact on the Great Lakes region. These tableau photographs recreate sections of Lake Erie during the spring freeze and thaw cycle, and examine the results of temperature fluctuations and the archeology that unearths thousands of gizzard shad every spring.  The photographs provide the viewer with grand views of the lake and intimate details of everything that washes on shore.  The artificial and uncanny nature of these photographs hints at the impermanence of this terrain and the uncertain future of these longstanding cycles in the lake ecosystem.

Coupled with these images are photographic replicas of native species that are endangered or experiencing habitat shifts.  These 3-D models, created from vellum and translucent papers, are photographed on a light table to acknowledge that many of these species are ghosts and no longer present with such abundance. These portraits of ephemeral objects offer contemplation on what may be, or is already lost, and suggest that paper replicas may one day be our only reference to the once grand Great Lakes.  

© Lori Kella. All rights reserved

  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Vimeo Icon